This is an e-mail that we received from our good friends, Jim and Terry Lindsay from Queensland, Australia.
A number of years ago Terry and I were in Western Australia doing some Stockhandling schools and had a particular school cancelled because of no suitable venue due to dry seasons.
The managers of Mardie Station Richard and Lindy Climas were approached by the organizer, and with a days notice, they agreed to supply some cattle if we could manage to camp and hold the school in the old shearers shed. Which we did.
Richard attended that school and went on to attend another the following year and then hosted a school at Mardie the year after that. Richard is someone who just gets on with doing things.
He and Lindy have gone on to make a huge difference to the operation at Mardie which totals more than 550,000 acres and runs up to 8000 cattle. Not many cattle for the acres, however this is a low rainfall area.
One of the case studies they did was on holding 1000 animals before shipping for up to six weeks. The animals that were ‘worked properly’ put on average 700 grams or 1.5 lb per day more that the ones that were not worked as well.
In Australia that would equate out to about $53 per head or in that particular deal $53,000. I guess my point is that good stockmanship can bring substantial rewards on large operations as well as small ones.
Some of this information is published in the latest Australian Outback magazine.
Since we received our copy of OUTBACK just the other day I’ll add an excerpt from that article.
. . . . Richard’s enthusiasm for the Mardie Beef product is as unwavering as his commitment to breeding the best cattle he can using a stockhandling regime that is proving as positive as it is profitable. After attending a Low Stress Stockhandling (LSS) workshop conducted by founder Jim Lindsay two years ago, Richard and Lindy made the decision to adopt the LSS system in its entirety on Mardie. They haven’t looked back, having improved production gains and meat quality, as well as the transportability of their cattle. They’ve also recorded a marked decrease in helicopter hours and haven’t had any workers’ compensation claims.
“Introducing LSS is the most important change we have made to our operation since we’ve been here,” Richard says. “I firmly believe you can’t afford not to do it. Weaner education is critical to the whole LSS system. We invest the time working weaners … so within three days they are off their mothers, settled and putting on condition. The LSS grounding the weaners get lasts a lifetime and improves every handling scenario from mustering to driving, yarding up and eventually trucking out.”
Good handling of cattle underpins every facet of Richard and Lindys beef business, with results that speak for themselves. To quantify the improved production gains in the Mardie weaners, Richard conducted a trial comparing LSS-handled weaners with those that were not. “Over a six-week period we held 1000 weaner bulls averaging 250-300kg [550 to 660 pounds] in holding paddocks on grass waiting for a boat,” he says. “Those that had been through the LSS system achieved weight gains averaging 650-750 grams [1 pound, 7 ounces to 1 pound, 10 ounces] a day and those that didn’t get the LSS work only maintained condition. That kind of weight gain translates to more kilos on every animal through the gate and big dollars you can’t afford to lose.”
Richard maintains a high standard of stockmanship and expects anyone who works his cattle to do the same. “I look for people who want to be stockmen not cowboys, who have the right attitude, are prepared to learn and are committed to a future working with livestock,” he says. “Being a stockman is a trade, no different to being a mechanic or an electrician – good stockmen are years in the making . . . . .”